Fresh Herb Kükü (Goyerti Kyukyusu)

This is fresh herb kükü served in Baku’s Carvansarai Restaurant.

In Azerbaijan, kükü (read: kyukyu) is the general name given to dishes in which main ingredients – vegetables, herbs, meat, or fish – are bound with eggs, then browned on both sides on a stovetop. It is not to be confused with an omlette as the featured ingredients in a kükü are used in far greater amounts than eggs. By its appearance and texture, kükü can be likened to a Persian kookoo, Middle Eastern eggah, Spanish tortilla or Italian frittata.

Simplicity in itself, goyerti küküsü or fresh herb kükü is by far the most popular and the most frequently made kükü of all in the versatile kükü repertoir. In this light summer dish, fresh herbs are mixed with eggs, then the mixture is leveled in a frying pan and cooked on both sides to yield a tender flavorful interior laced with a golden surface.

If you wish, add some fresh mint to the kükü, and if in season, fresh green garlic (green parts only) as well, decreasing the amount of other herbs accordingly. Sometimes, spinach is added too. Herb-laden tender kükü wedges can be served cold or at room temperature as an appetizer or immediately as a light standalone dish with bread or as a side dish to rice pilaf. And don’t forget a dollop of thick, creamy garlicky yogurt sauce on top, for that extra touch of authenticity.

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Yogurt Soup with Fresh Herbs and Chickpeas (Dovgha)

I wrote on AZ Cookbook facebook page that the epitome of spring and summer in Azerbaijan was coming soon to my blog. I gave a hint, alright, that it was going to be a soup. Most people guessed it right! Dovgha! Yes, it is dovgha, a popular Azerbaijani yogurt soup cooked with lots of fresh herbs!

I  was saving this recipe for my yet to be published (big sigh) cookbook, but since publishers are not knocking on my door (if you are a publisher, write me) or have been rejecting my knockings, and because I am a nice girl (modesty thing again), I am letting the recipe out before the book is out. Not that the recipe is a grand secret, but there are some tips that one should be armed with if aiming for a perfect dovgha, and I will gladly share them with you.

Dovgha has it all to be sought after. A creamy soup, it is generously nutritious, pleasantly refreshing and flavorsome from the bounty of fresh herbs simmered in yogurt, with a good doze of tender bite provided by the chickpeas, which by the way, can be omitted if you are not a big fan of them. I personally like my dovgha with chickpeas. In Azerbaijani countryside, dovgha is particularly delicious; in place of generally known fresh herbs listed in the recipe below, copious varieties of intensely aromatic edible herbs populating the lush fields and mountains, far from the reach of city dwellers, find their way into the soup, making it extra delectable.

How is dovgha served? Typically, chilled dovgha is served ladled into traditional deep individual bowls called kasa that are placed next to serving plates. It is up to you whether to enjoy dovgha as a starter soup before the main course arrives, or afterwards, to wash down a hearty meal. Dovgha is also great as a stand-alone light meal. Serve dovgha either chilled or at a room temperature, always with chunks of bread on the side.

Here’s the recipe with all the right tips you need to succeed in dovgha making. Also, check out my blogger friend Sofya’s (who hails from Baku too) for her dovgha recipe with some fantastic photos.

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